What is the real history of Memorial Day?

Most official histories of Memorial Day credit its founding to a white former Union Army Major General John A. Logan. However, it’s not the full story. It turns out that Logan was reputedly inspired by a local tribute to the fallen dead and to the gift of freedom organized by the formerly enslaved black community of Charleston, South Carolina, in May 1865. In the West African tradition from which Charleston’s Gullah people came, honorable warriors deserved sacred burial, and the dead were seen as part of a cycle of souls entering and leaving the world. 

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Born in 1917 into the Montana Blackfeet tribe, Murray Williamson enlisted in the United States Army at Fort Missoula, Montana, on March 28, 1941.

Nearly four years later, Technical Sergeant Williamson, with the 161st Infantry 25th Division, was killed in action on January 19, 1945, during the opening days of the Battle of Luzon.  

He was interred in the Fort William McKinley Cemetery, today known as the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the #Philippines. He was 27 years old.

This photo comes from Record Group 75 Blackfeet Agency holdings in the National Archives at Denver​. This record group is  a small collection of photographs; young Blackfeet soldiers, Marines, and sailors who all served in WWII. Murray Williamson was one of them.


Amputation And Disfigured Limbs: Haunting Portraits of Civil War Soldiers Horrifically Maimed On American Battlefields

Pictured wearing a support apparatus and without it is Private Joshua S. Mason, who had four inches of his humerus, or upper arm bone, removed

Men missing legs, arms, fingers and toes - these compelling portraits show the disfigured and maimed bodies of soldiers wounded in battle during the Civil War.

While an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 were killed in the four-year long war, it is also infamous for the high number of amputations doctors carried out on wounded soldiers.

A blood-curdling range of saws, knives and sharp hooks were used to administer surgery to maimed fighters - an estimated 60,000 amputations were completed between 1861 - 1865.

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Special thanks to all our past service memebers who gave their lives for our freedom, they are gone but their sacrifices will never be forgotten. Without their bravery and courage our country would be a very different place. Proud to be an American because at least I know I’m free! I love my country and I appreciate ALL the men and women who serve to protect what so many of us call home.

Take a second to put down your phone, turn away from your computers. Say a prayer for the families of those who are mourning their lost soldiers this Memorial Day. God bless you and your ultimate sacrifice.